Having a thorough understanding of the different types of hearing loss can help you to identify what treatment options may be best for you. Not everyone experiences the same level of hearing loss, and thus the solutions can vary. At a basic level, the type of hearing loss that you may be noticing largely depends on what aspect of your hearing has been damaged or impaired. The three main types of hearing loss are sensorineural, conductive and mixed hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural is the most common type of hearing loss, which occurs when the inner ear or the auditory nerve has been damaged or is experiencing a noticeable problem. The little hair-like cells located in the inner ear can get damaged and reduce the transfer of important nerve signals to the brain. As a result, the overall clarity and volume of sound that you are hearing can be negatively impacted.
Although it is possible for someone to be born with sensorineural hearing loss as a result of a genetic syndrome, the issue typically develops later in life. The normal ageing process is the most typical cause, and being older can put you more at risk of developing this type of hearing loss. Being exposed to high levels of noise, such as construction workers who are subject to harsh noises as part of their daily work, are more likely to develop sensorineural hearing loss.
Conductive Hearing Loss
The second type of hearing loss is called conductive, which happens when there is damage or some form of obstruction to the outer or middle ear. This results in sound unable to be transferred to the inner ear. Depending on the main cause behind the issue, conductive hearing loss can be either permanent or temporary.
One of the most common causes of conductive hearing loss is a build-up of ear wax in the ear canal, creating a blockage that reduces the sound levels. A narrowing of the ear canal or bone-like protrusions can also lead to an obstruction in the ear canal. If you’re someone who’s in the water a fair amount, be careful of the effects of swimmer’s ear as this can also lead to conductive hearing loss.
Mixed Hearing Loss
As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss is generally perceived as any kind of combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Mixed hearing loss can happen slowly over time as one type of hearing loss is exacerbated by another. More commonly though, if the ear has undergone some kind of trauma it is possible that it may result in mixed hearing loss.
How Can Hearing Aids Help?
Hearing loss can have a significant impact on anybody’s quality of life and the social interactions that they have with friends and family. In some cases (more specifically for conductive hearing loss) there are a number of different medical procedures to treat these different types of hearing loss. However, the most affordable and effective forms of treatment are hearing aids.
Hearing aids work to boost the volume of sound you hear, making the quality of sound in your life more clear and of higher quality. You’ll need to undergo a hearing test in order to understand the exact level of damage to your ears.
The audiologists at The Art of Hearing can help to examine what type of hearing loss you may be experiencing and help to find the perfect hearing aid for your needs. Our audiologists will finely tune your hearing aid to ensure that no further damage is caused and that you have it at a comfortable listening level to suit your lifestyle.